Sharon Munjenjema and Tanyaradzwa Rusike
Former President Robert Mugabe’s body is today expected to be taken to Zvimba, to afford people in his home area of Mashonaland West province a chance to bid farewell to the late Statesman.
The Sunday Mail has gathered that after the rural proceedings, the body will be taken to a mortuary, where it will lie in state for about 30 days to pave way for the construction of a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre.
Former President Mugabe will be buried in the mausoleum that is being constructed on top of a hill at the national shrine.
Government, on Friday, conferred the late leader the special honour, a first at the national shrine.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail, on the side-lines of a State funeral for the former President at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, family representative Mr Leo Mugabe said the funeral programme was today shifting to Zvimba.
“The family programme from now on is that tomorrow (today), we will go to Zvimba, Murombedzi. Then to the homestead; and we will give the Zvimba and Mashonaland West people the opportunity to bid their farewell,” he said.
“Thereafter, we will take the body, on Monday or Tuesday, back (to Harare) and take it to the mortuary for preservation for roughly 30 days until the Heroes Acre is ready.”
Mr Mugabe dispelled circulating statements that the National Heroes Acre burial would be a mock ceremony.
Addressing journalists yesterday Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said traditional leaders from Zvimba, where the late former President hails from, had already visited the National Heroes Acre to mark the grave site.
“Let’s not also forget that the former President is the founding father. I’m sure if you go to Russia you will see Lenin in his Mausoleum, same as elsewhere, you find other founding fathers in mausoleums,” he said.
The late former President’s mausoleum will be the first at the National Heroes Acre.
Other late Heads of States buried in mausoleums include former Zambia Presidents Fredrick Chiluba, Levi Mwanawasa and Michael Sata. The three died in 2011, 2008 and 2014, respectively.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s former President Laurent Kabila was also buried in mausoleum in 2001.
Former Malawi President Kamuzu Banda who died in 1997 is also interred in a mausoleum.